Monday, July 19, 2010

Vineyard Haven - "Unexpected" Thunderstorms

Well, the “morning lies” said we would have fair weather with winds out of the southwest, perfect for a sail to Vineyard Haven. We had reserved a mooring in advance to be sure of having a place. We weighed anchor and found a lot of grass on the chain and anchor but the anchor had found mud under the grass so it held well. However, it took a long time to get all the grass off. Be careful if you anchor here.

Our first clue that something was amiss was a call from Leathem Mehaffey who was at Branford. He had put in there to fix a faulty tach and said they were under a severe thunderstorm warning. But the skies as far as we could see were clear and sunny – and – we had that great forecast from NOAA that today was going to be sunny with no storms (it sounded so authoritative)!
With that we set out for Vineyard Haven against a foul tide but with a great wind. Once through the cut (Quick’s Hole) we hoisted sails with a 15 kt wind on a broad reach. As we sailed on, the skies kept getting darker and darker to the north of us but we thought that the wind would push whatever storm there was away from us. As we reached the mouth of the harbor, the skies got really dark and angry looking clouds so we dropped sails and turned on the engine and raced for a mooring at 8 kts. We almost made it. The winds gusted to the 30’s as we made our turn for the mooring and the rains came. Ann aimed for the nearest one and I grabbed the pendant, retreating quickly to the cabin.

Looking back, it would have been great to get some action shots of the dark clouds, the lightening, me on the bow in the pouring rain – but you tend to get rather occupied in such situations and forget to click the camera.

After the first storm we had an interlude of calm which we used to find a better mooring and watched some boats take advantage of the good winds through the mooring field. Looking at the weather map, we saw an opening to go into town to the Stop and Shop to stock up on groceries before the next wave of thunderstorms hit. The town was packed! It was bumper to bumper traffic with everybody in a hurry to get somewhere, they only reluctantly let you cross the street, not very idyllic! We’ll probably get off the mooring tomorrow and drop an anchor nearby, the moorings go for $45/.night. We got a mooring to gain access to the marina’s laundromat but found that it was closed due to a water restriction on the island, oh well.